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Apple Watch 7 vs Apple Watch 6: Should you wait for the new Apple Watch?

Apple unveiled its latest smartwatch this week, but only a year after the release of the Apple Watch 6, is it time to upgrade?

Apple Watch 7 (3)

It’s been around a year since the Apple Watch 6 was released, and it’s a product that really, really impressed us. However, with Apple unveiling the Apple Watch 7 this week (arriving later this autumn), new Apple watch buyers have been left with plenty of questions. Primarily, should they wait for the new Apple Watch 7? We’ve crunched some of the numbers to help you answer that question. 

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First off, it’s worth really emphasising how much the Series 6 impressed us. In our Apple Watch 6 review, we gave the wearable a four-and-a-half star rating. The only notable drawback of the watch was the fact that it’s only compatible with iPhones. A year on, it still stands up tremendously well in the wearables market, and potential buyers shouldn’t necessarily be put off by the release of a successor.

Of course, if you’re the kind of buyer who has to have the latest Apple wearable, with all the mod cons, then the Apple Watch 7 will be the one for you. Whether the additions to the latest Apple watch justify its price tag remains to be seen, and we will delve into that discussion in more depth later. However, it’s worth noting that the definitive answer of which watch to buy will vary from individual to individual, depending on your needs and your budget. 

It’s also worth noting that we could see an Apple Watch 6 price crash with the release of the new wearable, and we’ll be keeping you updated on the best smartwatch deals during Black Friday 2021 and beyond. 

Jump to:

Apple Watch 7 vs Apple Watch 6: key differences at a glance

  • Series 7 has 20% more screen area than the Series 6
  • New screen sizes, 41mm and 45mm on Apple Watch 7
  • 33% faster charging on Series 7
  • Thicker glass makes the new watch display stronger
  • New IP6X resistance rating

Apple Watch 7 vs Apple Watch 6 in detail 

Apple Watch 6 review straps
Apple

Apple Watch 7 vs Apple Watch 6: specs and features 

The Apple Watch 6 is packed with specialist workout tracking options, making it an ideal partner on a run, in the gym, or wherever you do your exercise. It’s worth noting, though, that some watches aimed at workout-tracking do have better battery life. So, if you have active trips planned where charging opportunities might be minimal, the Apple Watch 6 might not be your ideal companion.

There’s also a VO2 max and blood oxygen monitor, sleep tracking, ECG and heart rate, Apple pay, fall detection and a host of other features. 

The Apple Watch 7 also carries these popular features from the Apple Watch 6, but many commentators have argued the new device does not add enough to convince buyers to upgrade.

What is added? A new IPX6 means the watch is more resistant than ever, while a larger screen and faster charging enhance its usability. Those changes apart, plus a (very) slight design overhaul, and ultimately it seems not an awful lot has changed.

Price

Currently, you can pick up an Apple Watch 6 for around £355, but we’re expecting to see a price drop following the release of the new watch. Also, with Black Friday on the horizon, there is potential for some great deals on wearables. 

The all-new Apple Watch 7 will cost £379 when it is released “later this fall”.

Battery Life 

Apple said the battery on the Apple Watch 6 would last 18 hours, based on 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use and a 60-minute workout with music playback. This tallied with the findings of our full Apple Watch 6 review, but we also found that the watch burned through its battery power more quickly than many competitors. 

Unfortunately – and a little surprisingly – there is no upgrade to the battery life of the Apple Watch 7. This is a real drawback of the new device as improved battery life would have been near the top of our wish-list for the product – a view that many users seemed to share.

However, Apple has improved its charging times. The company claims that the Apple Watch 7 charges up to 33% faster than the Apple Watch 6.

Display 

If the display is the first thing you think about when purchasing a smartwatch, then the Apple Watch 7 might be for you. Apple has made limited changes to the device, but the new display is by far the best. The display is 20% larger than that of the Apple Watch 6, making it easier to use apps and to read messages without their being cut off. The brightness of the screen has also been improved to aid usability. 

For the previous generation, the significant upgrades made to the Apple Watch 6’s ‘always on’ display also made the watch far more functional and easy to use in difficult lighting conditions. Other intuitive features – like raising your arm to activate the display – helped users make the most of their watch, and ultimately, the Series 6 still looks great one year on. 

Apple Watch 7 release date

Design and colours 

The design of the Apple Watch 7 is typically Apple. It’s sleek and fairly compact, and – as with the Apple Watch 6 – users will be able to customise their watch to fit their own preferences.

The latest Apple wearable is available in a range of colours. The aluminium finish comes in a new blue shade, plus starlight, midnight, green and red. Meanwhile, the stainless steel version is available in silver, graphite and gold.

It was the customisability of the Apple Watch 6 that won over many users. A wide range of wrist straps and different coloured device bodies, as well as display settings, meant fans of the wearable could really make it their own. As a result, customisability is once again at the core of Apple’s new wearable. 

The new device is also backwards compatible with bands from Apple Watch 6.

Our verdict: should you wait for the Apple Watch 7?

Until we get our hands on an Apple Watch 7 for testing, it’s impossible to say for sure which watch is best. However, the numbers, specs and reception indicate that the Apple Watch 7 isn’t a huge upgrade from its predecessor.

As a result, if you’re in the market for an Apple Watch but don’t already have one – and you want up to date features and specs with a nice display – then the Apple Watch 7 could be for you. However, for those who already have an Apple Watch 6, it’s hard to see too much reason to upgrade to the latest Apple wearable.

Where to buy

The Apple Watch 7 isn’t available until “later this fall”, according to Apple. So, it will be here in time for Christmas, but impatient fans of Apple wearables will have to hold their horses a little while longer.

Of course, the Apple Watch 6 is available currently. We’ve provided a range of retailers below, but it’s worth noting that – for those wanting to purchase an Apple Watch 6 – there are bound to be some Black Friday deals incoming. It’s probably worth holding on a little while longer as a result. Stay tuned to our best smartwatch deals page for updates.

Buy Apple Watch 6 now: 

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For the latest news, reviews and deals, check out the RadioTimes.com Technology section. Still unsure about what smartwatch to buy? Read our guide to the best smartwatch of the year. Hunting for Apple deals? Don’t miss Cyber Monday 2021